Two journalists attacked during protest in western El Salvador

OCTOBER 25, 2007
Posted December 7, 2007

Borman Mármol, La Prensa Gráfica
Alex Nolasco, Canal 21


During a clash between protesters and local police near the western city of Santa Ana, Mármol, a photographer for the San Salvador-based daily La Prensa Gráfica,and Nolasco, a reporter for the national TV station Canal 21, were attacked by protesters and the anti-riot unit of the local police.

Mármol and Nolasco were independently covering a protest against the construction of a landfill in Cutumay Camones, a small town near Santa Ana. The protest became violent after protestors used rocks, sticks, and slingshots to attack police safeguarding the passage of construction trucks.

Mármol told CPJ that a group of protesters approached him and asked for his camera as he was photographing the scene. Mármol said demonstrators attacked him violently and grabbed his camera after he refused to hand it over. The reporter managed to escape by jumping into a vehicle owned by a local human rights watchdog while protesters swung rocks and sticks at him. He told CPJ that he received several injuries.

Nolasco attempted to drive away from the protest with cameraman Walter Aparicio in a van clearly identified with the TV station’s logo. When a member of the anti-riot police ordered Nolasco to stop the car and identify himself, he showed the officer his press credentials, the reporter told CPJ. However, three other officers attacked Nolasco as Aparicio filmed the incident.

La Prensa Gráfica and Canal 21 filed police reports. Police said they believed the van Nolasco was driving was stolen, and that the driver was trying to run them over, according to local press reports. Nolasco’s attacker, who was clearly identified in Aparicio’s recordings, was transferred to administrative tasks.